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Thread: Sharp pyro developer that gives full film speed

  1. #11

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    Re: Sharp pyro developer that gives full film speed

    It should also be mentioned that sharpness with any given developer is highly dependent on both dilution and type of agitation. Developers like D76 that have a lot of sulfite in them become sharper when diluted 1:1 or 1:2 because there is less solvent action. Most pyro type developers become sharper with higher dilutions because of local developer exhaustion. And most developers of all types are usually sharper when used with reduced agitation methods (minimal, semi-stand, stand, etc.).

    Technically speaking any comparison of sharpness of any two developers should be qualified by noting the dilution and type of agitation.

    Sandy King
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  2. #12

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    Re: Sharp pyro developer that gives full film speed

    Sandy,

    You're right, of course; as many variables as possible should be controlled for in any comparison, but some developers are more comparable than others. For instance; what would be comparable dilutions of D-76 and Pyrocat HD? It's really an apples and oranges comparison. Still, there's only so much sharpness one can eek out of D-76, and it will never be as sharp as Pyrocat HD, whatever the dilution or agitation, so one can state categorically that Pyrocat HD is sharper than D-76, because they are from different classes of developers. When comparing developers that are more comparable, like Pyrocat HD and Pyrocat MC, one can say Pyrocat MC is sharper, and it should be understood that the comparison should be made at similar dilutions and agitation schemes. If there is some condition under which Pyrocat HD is sharper than Pyrocat MC, it would be the exception to the rule, and worthy of special mention.

  3. #13

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    Re: Sharp pyro developer that gives full film speed

    Thanks for responding.

    I have been determining film speed by examining the shadow detail. It seemed to me that with Pyrocat HD at 1:1:100 with 10 sec agitation every minute, there was about 1/2 to 1 stop less speed (depending on which film) than with Rodinal 1:100 or Beutlers 1:1:10.

    I am looking for a a pyro developer that I can get full speed with and is as sharp as what I use now.

    And, yes, I am looking for generalities. I realize that most developer film combos can be massaged into functioning similarly. But in general, certain developers give more speed and sharpness than others.

    I was curious about the different pyrocat variations in regard to these factors. Is there one that was noticably sharper? Is ABC pyro that much sharper than the others? Is it silly to worry about sharpness between the pyrocat -HD, -MC, and -P versions? If so, which gives the best film speed?

    Thanks

  4. #14

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    Re: Sharp pyro developer that gives full film speed

    Quote Originally Posted by mcfactor View Post
    I have been determining film speed by examining the shadow detail.
    I don't mean to be a pest, just trying to help.

    Do you use any kind of regular measurements, of follow a methodology like the Zone System or BTZS (Beyond The Zone System) ?

  5. #15

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    Re: Sharp pyro developer that gives full film speed

    No pestering Ken, thanks for trying to help. I do use a basic version of the zone system, I decide what I want zone 2-3 to be and expose for it, then expand or contract the development if the highlights fall in the wrong place. I know its not as exact as it should be, however it has worked so far

  6. #16

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    Re: Sharp pyro developer that gives full film speed

    D76 is the standard by which all developers are compared for both film speed and sharpness. Over the years I have made literally hundreds of film tests using sensitometry (EG&G sensitometer) and carefully controlled developing. I can assure you that there is no loss of film speed with any of the Pyrocat versions compared to D76. To the contrary, there is actually a small speed gain of about 1/5 of a stop. The only standard developer that consistently gives more film speed than D76, and Pyrocat, is Xtol. In looking at a test I did a few years ago with Ilford FP4+ film speed was 100+ with D76 1:1, 125++ with Pyrocat-HD, and 160 with Xtol. These figures are typical for other films I have tested with these developers, including Delta 100, Tmax-100, Tmax-400 (TMY), TRI-X and HP5+. I have not tested either Rodinal or Beutlers but doubt very much that either of them give more film speed than D76.

    Film speed is fairly easy to test and assuming good technique the results are very objective. Sharpness is another matter as it depends on numerous factors. The sharpness of some developers, including Rodinal and ABC Pyro, is provided by large and pronounced grain structure. These developers give nice sharp results at modest enlargements but the image breaks down if you print too large. Most pyro developers are sharp because of tanning which optimizes local reduction, and by local developer exhaustion which enhances edge effects. All of the contemporary pyro developers that are generally discussed in these threads, including PMK, WD2D+, Rollo Pyro, Tanol, Hypercat, and the various Pyrocat versions are capable of outstanding sharpness. You just have to learn how to use them. For example, for rotary development I prefer Pyrocat-MC over Pyrocat-HD, but for minimal agitation procedures I favor Pyrocat-HD or Pyrocat-P. In two-bath development sharpness (from enhanced adjacency effects) is simply off the wall with both -MC so I use both with these method of development.

    The point I would emphasize is that while interesting comparisons can be made of different developers it is nearly always possible to get the results you want with any one of them if you have a good understanding of how the developer works with various dilutions and methods of agitation, and how the results fit with your specific method of printing. A good example is rotary development. While developers like Rollo Pyro and Pyrocat-MC work much better (lower B+F stain) out of the box with most films with rotary development than developers like PMK or WD2D+ it is nonetheless possible to get excellent results with last two by adjusting development procedures or by the use of additives such as more sulfite, some ascorbic, or EDTA.

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  7. #17

    Re: Sharp pyro developer that gives full film speed

    I have been using Pyrocat-P for a few years now for medium and large format negs. I haven't had any problems with film speed, and sharpness is amazing as well. I stopped using PMK after I tried Pyrocat-P. I occasionally use it for 35mm as well, but I usually use Rodinal for 35mm. Beutler's is another I have tried, but I found the developing times too long to achieve the contrast I like for printing. The negs were great though.

  8. #18
    おせわに なります! Andrew O'Neill's Avatar
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    Re: Sharp pyro developer that gives full film speed

    mcfactor,

    Do you develop in trays? I personally have found that if you want more sharpness, trays is the ways...er, sorry. But seriously, by limiting the amount of agitation, increases edge effects AND a slight gain in film speed. I use HP5 as my main film, pyrocat-hd 2+2+100, and agitate every 3 minutes. Sometimes I agitate every 5 minutes if I want more sharpness. If sharpness is not important for a particular image, then I develop in BTZS tubes.

  9. #19

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    Re: Sharp pyro developer that gives full film speed

    Thanks for your detailed response Sandy. I did order some pyrocat-hd to try again. Perhaps my tests were not as scientific as they should have been. I also remeber having trouble simply eyeballing the pyro negs because of the stain.

    I have been following some of the threads about divided pyro development. It seemed like much of the talk was for scanning negs. Would I see an increase in sharpness (or other benefits) from contact printing as well? I develop in trays, could simply have two trays, one for solution A and one for B, and move the negs from one to the other?

    This answers Andrew's question. I do use trays but I have not tried limited agitation since I usually develop at least 4 sheets at 1 time. And I shuffle every minute.

    Correct me if I am wrong, but could I do semi-stand with multiple sheets? Would the top sheet get more development than the others?

    -Noah

  10. #20

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    Re: Sharp pyro developer that gives full film speed

    Quote Originally Posted by mcfactor View Post
    Thanks for your detailed response Sandy. I did order some pyrocat-hd to try again. Perhaps my tests were not as scientific as they should have been. I also remeber having trouble simply eyeballing the pyro negs because of the stain.

    I have been following some of the threads about divided pyro development. It seemed like much of the talk was for scanning negs. Would I see an increase in sharpness (or other benefits) from contact printing as well? I develop in trays, could simply have two trays, one for solution A and one for B, and move the negs from one to the other?

    This answers Andrew's question. I do use trays but I have not tried limited agitation since I usually develop at least 4 sheets at 1 time. And I shuffle every minute.

    Correct me if I am wrong, but could I do semi-stand with multiple sheets? Would the top sheet get more development than the others?

    -Noah

    Noah,

    I don't discount the results of anybody's personal outcomes. There are really too many reasons to count why your results are not consistent with mine or or those of other persons. However, I am reasonably certain that if you are not getting full speed with Pyrocat it is not due to the developer itself, assuming it was mixed correctly and is being used appropriately. And you don't have to do anything special to get full film speed. I do all of my testing with rotary development, which in most cases gives slightly less film speed in most conditions than intermittent and minimal type schemes of agitation.

    As for minimal agitation, you can do it with cradle type devices that develop up to four 4X5 or 5X7 sheets of film at a time, keeping them separated, or you can do it with tubes standing on end. But I don't recommend shuffle type development with minimal agitation methods.

    Sandy
    Last edited by sanking; 15-Jun-2010 at 18:52.
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